Tag Archives: devotion

I did 20 Years…and so did he

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A rather persistent, mutual friend insisted that I meet “this guy” that would be just perfect for me.  I brushed her off a couple times as I’d recently come out of a hurtful relationship and besides I preferred things to happen naturally.  Nonetheless, I humored her and agreed that she could give “this guy” my phone number.

He called and in a matter of a few conversations, we fell in love.  We had many subsequent, lengthy phone calls in the evenings after work.  Each of us couldn’t wait for the next time we could speak!  I agreed to attend a Christian concert with him and some other mutual friends.  After the concert, we all went out to eat.  I was starving.  Literally, I could hear the acids in my stomach raging but I was too nervous to eat.  I opted just to have a Coke and upon “this guy’s” insistence, a few of his fries.  I was so hungry, yet I wouldn’t eat.  Ah, young love.  Well, we talked all night and our love story was sealed that June evening.

We were engaged on Christmas Day and married the following June, 20 years ago.

What is the secret of staying married until death do you part?

I like the quote I’ve seen around, “We were born in a time when divorce was not an option.”

or this one:

“I was born in a time when if something was broken, you fixed it.”

There’s something to those sayings.  It’s called removing the option of giving up, of throwing in the proverbial towel, and pushing up your sleeves and working on it.  A little elbow grease.  Effort.

Marriage is hard work.

There are no two ways around it.  But did you ever have a relationship that wasn’t?  We are all enshrined in this flesh called humanity, and as such, we have tendencies of failure.  We also have huge capacities to love.

And in my Bible it says that love conquers all.

Love hopes.  Love keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not boast.  Love places the other before self.

That’s what love looks like.

Yes, love is hugs, kisses and all the physical trappings that accompany the marriage relationship and make it one of the most beautiful unions.

Sometimes life requires more than mere hugs and kisses.

Sometimes it demands forgiveness, forbearance, time, selflessness.

The demands of family, work, finances can be absolutely draining.  And sometimes one can feel like you have nothing left to give.  There are certainly seasons like that, especially when the kids are young.

We are happily at the stage now where our kids are nearly grown.  The two younger ones at home are 16 and 18.  Our oldest left home quite a few years ago and is 27.  So, the physical demands on us are fewer than they were years ago.  But during the years of great demand, that’s when dating your spouse really is important.  Carving out “couple time” is crucial to staying on the same page emotionally.

Twenty years now.  This June it will be 21 years!  God sure has been faithful to us.  We’ve weathered some fierce storms, times when throwing in the towel sure had its appeal.  If we succumbed to giving up, we would have forfeited the most precious love we share today.

When we were newlyweds, our euphoric love seemed incredible – like Fourth of July fireworks!  We thought it couldn’t get any better than this!  We were so young and naive.  Weathering the storms of life together creates an undeniable bond and deeper love than one could have imagined.

Am I thankful for the storms?  Well, maybe I am.  Strange as that sounds.  Without them, I would not have seen the sweet expression of love and care when my husband has brought me soup when I’ve been ill.  Without the challenges, we wouldn’t realize how desperately we needed one another.  Without the adversities, we would not know the grace and mercy of God as displayed through the other.

You know, friends, when we love our spouses, we are honoring God.  And when God is honored, there are blessings!

One of the most meaningful things my husband and I do together is pray.  When our hearts are overwhelmed, we invoke God’s presence and power into our lives.  When our hearts are full of thankfulness and joy, we express that, too, in prayer.  God is such a vital part of our relationship and He has always been.  I encourage you to pray with your spouse if possible.  God truly honors the unity of prayer.

Not only that, but I believe there is power in prayer.  Sometimes the most spiritual prayer is – “Help!”   God is close to the brokenhearted, my friend.

My husband and I are testaments of God’s grace and His power at work in our hearts.  The beauty of being married for a while is that before long, you know the other’s heart.  My husband knows what I will and will not do and vice versa.  Our hearts trust the other.

So, love begets trust.  And like a garden.  If left untilled, weeds will grow.  Don’t neglect your most precious relationship.

The grass is not greener on the other side.  There are weeds over there.  Till your own garden and your marriage will flourish.

What you invest in, you will reap the harvest.  Invest well.

 

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Intercessory Prayer

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What is intercessory prayer and why is it important in the Christian’s life?  Intercessory prayer is one that we offer on behalf of another.  It is “standing in the gap”, pounding the gates of heaven in stead for our family, friends, our nation, our leaders, etc.  It is vital for a variety of reasons:

  1. It shifts the focus from your circumstances to another’s.
  2. It allows God to honor the seed (of prayer) that you are sowing to bring a harvest in due time in your own life. (Job 42:10 and James 5:16)
  3. We are to carry each other’s “back packs”. (Romans 15:1)
  4. It is an encouragement to others to know someone else cares enough to pray.

 “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” ~ Ezekiel 22:30

First of all, we all should pray for our country, those in leadership, that righteousness will be restored and that many will turn to Christ during these last days.  The story of God’s conversation with Noah when he sought for sufficient righteous (those in right living) men comes to mind.  (Genesis 18)  He looked for men who had a heart toward Him so he wouldn’t destroy the land.  Noah repeatedly begged God not to destroy man because of his sin, and they had this “tug of war” of sorts going on.  Oh, that we would rise up and be like Noah, standing in the gap for our land!

“And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

In Job 42:10 it says, “When Job prayed for his friends, his captivity was turned.”  I have seen this principle work so many times in my own life.  I know it works without a doubt.  Whenever I need healing, I begin to pray for friends who also need healing.  When we spend time in earnest prayer, asking the Great God of the Universe, Who made us and Who holds all things in His hands to intervene on another’s behalf, I believe it moves the heart of God.  I believe it is at that moment we connect with our Abba Father and He is well pleased with us.  When we offer prayers out of compassion and concern for others, I believe it is God’s good pleasure to pour out blessings in our own lives as well.  This is not the sole reason we pray, of course, but it is a by product of intercessory prayer.

“We who are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves.” ~ Romans 15:1 AMP

In the above Scripture the strong are compelled to carry the weak.  How do we do this?  It certainly is not in our own fleshly strength.  No, we must carry their needs to the Lord in prayer and place their concerns at the foot of the Cross.  I love the picture I often view in my mind of a rustic altar at the foot of a huge, wooden Cross.  It is there I bow my knee in prayer and offer to God all the burdens of my heart.  It is there I worship God in the majesty of Who He truly is.  It is there I leave the weight this world so easily bears upon my soul.  And it is there I find rest in place of weariness, peace in place of angst, and hope in place of despondency.

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  ~ James 5:16

My favorite parable of all time is the “Widow and the Unjust Judge” found in Luke 18.  Here we find a persistent widow who could not be stopped.  She petitioned this judge continually, and, despite the judge’s neutrality of faith, he finally granted her desire…just to shut her up!  The twist in this story is that you and I are that widow, however, we do not serve a God who is unjust.  No, he is ever fair.  (God keeps accurate records.)  We serve a just God and a high priest,  who “is touched with the feelings of our infirmities”. (Hebrews 4:15)  We know that if He hears our prayers (and we know that He does), He will answer.  (I John 5:14-15)  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no, and, often times, wait a while.  But, rest assured, the answer will come.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

God is searching for one who will stand in the gap.  Will it be you?  No special skills required.  Only faith.  Faith the size of a mustard seed will do.  Will it be you?

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